Published: April 13, 2023 By

Alexis Grubman in front of the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship signOne of Three

Last month, I found myself as one of only three women in a tech analytics class. It was at a point in the semester when classes were half empty, but still, I was one of only three. After nine years in the technology industry, this wasn’t a surprising sight. Later that day, a friend reminded me that it was International Women's Day. The news was disheartening and reinforced the gender imbalance in my mind. Conversations around women in tech have been going on for decades.

Earlier this semester, I began my summer internship search. I started off mindlessly scrolling LinkedIn and Handshake without much conviction. Then I found what seemed like the perfect opportunity. The more I learned about the position, the more it felt like the perfect match. Combining my technical education with my operations experience for the summer sounded like a dream. As I applied and moved through the interview process, I began to feel like I was almost guaranteed to get it. When people, like my dad, asked how it was going, I replied “I had it in the bag.” I felt cocky, but I didn't know why I was so sure.

The Industry

In 2020, many of the largest tech companies in the world, including Apple and Google, had a workforce of only 30 percent women.[1] In addition, only two percent of investment capital was allocated to woman-run businesses.[2] This lack of employment and investing opportunities creates a large deficit of women mentors and role models. Often leaving aspiring female entrepreneurs to blaze their own path with little to no female guidance in a world with few female leaders.

Life-Changing Impact of CU Boulder

CU Boulder has been a huge proponent of my journey to get to where I am now. I chose this school specifically for its Business Analytics major, which seemed like the most useful and strategic area of study for me. As I lead my CU Boulder journey, I continuously searched for a club or community to join that aligned with my other interests. Now in my junior year, the Deming Center of Entrepreneurship has become that community. Through the Deming Center, I have heard from founders and creators at their events, pushed myself out of my comfort zone and travel halfway around the world to consult small businesses through Entrepreneurship and Empowerment in South Africa (click the link to learn more), and simply had a place to go and connect with other like-minded students, who are often founders themselves. Finding your community on a massive campus can sound daunting, and I was lucky it only took a few visits to the Deming Center before I was creating relationships and building my network with the people there. One of my dearest mentors has become Stefani Harrison, the Deming Center's Marketing and Operations Manager. She is the reason I am often unafraid to travel, try, and share my stories. The Deming team has a plethora of brilliant women who have inspired me to take chances and believe in my abilities. I am exceedingly grateful for their encouragement and support and the diverse community they have created.

Alexis Grubman in South Africa with fellow students and EESA clientsThinking about my experience concerning this internship opportunity, the more I realized I was completely qualified. I participated in programming boot camps for three years, learned about operations from some of the brightest minds in venture capital, and even ran operations for an early-stage startup and helped them grow from one to 20 customers. I need to own the fact that I worked hard to grow and learn. In America, women are often stereotyped to be empathetic, grateful, and masters of soft skills, and are pushed to fields like human resources, philosophy, and gender studies instead of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or related fields.[2] These stereotypes can cause women to question if we deserve opportunities even when we are overqualified.

Men are statistically more likely to apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications. While women typically only apply when they meet 100 percent. Looking closely at the job description, I easily met at least 60 percent of the qualifications but still felt odd applying.[3] The more I thought about it, the more I realized I earned this confidence. I worked for this and I deserve this. That mindset is so foreign to many women at any stage in their careers. We are less likely to take chances, ask for a promotion, and often fall to imposter syndrome when we get it. As women, we need to own our worth and experiences.

Moving Forward

After three rounds of screenings and interviews, I was offered a Product Operations Internship at a top-tier global asset manager, Janus Henderson Investors. Throughout the whole interview process, the day-to-day responsibilities felt like a perfect fit; between my education and my experience. So what reason did I have not to be confident? To feel like I deserved this incredible opportunity? I am beyond thrilled to be working and learning under a fellow data geek and someone as passionate about operations as I am as well as a brilliant and determined woman who started her own team from scratch. One of the things that impressed me was the gender mix of the leadership team I interviewed with and will have the opportunity to work with. This is a firm that is inclusive and I am looking forward to working alongside powerful, intelligent, accomplished women.

Sometimes, as women, we have to be the trailblazers of a specific career path. When we see a lack of strong women in roles we want to hold, we have to keep trying and not let that scare us away. Young women need to make an effort to seek out mentors and professionals that they can learn from and emulate and career professionals can give back and make a difference by taking time out of their day to guide and inspire young women. The Deming Center is one of many places to connect and there are hundreds of other communities to explore (Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, and League of Women Coders, just to name a few). Together through community and supporting one another, we as women can achieve anything we set our minds to. We need to stop thinking we are being cocky when we are just owning the confidence that we deserve.


More Deming News

New Venture Launch wordmark over two women with laptops.

Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur and Win Big! Apply for New Venture Launch

Everyone’s entrepreneurial journey starts somewhere. Whether you saw a problem and innovated a solution you transformed into a business or you improved upon an already existing idea or business, everyone can be entrepreneurial! Here at the Leeds School of Business , we know that the best businesses come through hands-on...

Luke Bille with the ClimateScaping team holding their award check
Luke Bille: A Testimony On The Impact Of The Deming Center’s Resources
Liz Compos in front of one of her murals
Liz Compos: Empowering Boulder’s Art Community Through Business
David Banda
Empowering the American Dream: Fangarde’s Battle Against Soaring Ticket Resale Prices